As women, we are all intimately familiar with the side-effects of menstruation. One of these is menstrual cramps, the painful contractions that can leave us lingering in bed for a day or two at the onset of our period. But, what causes them? According to Marla Ahlgrimm, it’s hormones.
Marla Ahlgrimm explains that the overproduction of prostaglandins, a hormone that tells the uterus it’s time to shed its lining, is most likely the culprit if you are experiencing menstrual cramps. Fortunately, these are short-lived, and often occur just a day or two before bleeding begins.
Unfortunately, Marla Ahlgrimm acknowledges that menstrual cramps tend to come on strong, and they may be debilitating for hours or days for women who suffer from extreme PMS. The good news is that, although around 10% of young women have noticeable cramping that affects their daily activities, it tends to get better sometime around age 21, with some women reporting that childbirth reduces the intensity and longevity of their menstrual cramps.
Marla Ahlgrimm also notes that severe menstrual cramping is sometimes associated with endometriosis and other reproductive system disorders. Women that experience heavy bleeding along with intense cramping may wish to mention this to their healthcare provider to get checked out for an underlying health concern.
There are many ways to relieve cramping. Marla Ahlgrimm suggests inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen, as well as heat and exercise. Sometimes, climatic sex can relieve cramping since an orgasm releases a surge of feel-good hormones that can have a positive effect on the body.
Additional relief may be found by using a TENS system, which Marla Ahlgrimm explains is a low-voltage device that delivers a small shock to the skin. This works to relieve muscle tension and trigger endorphins similar to sex.